The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): Eurasia Review: Azerbaijan: A Key Piece In The Shifting Puzzle Of America’s Strategic Alliances – Analysis

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Trump’s recent letters are unmistakable signs of his administration’s growing embrace of Azerbaijan as a centerpiece of its strategy — from Europe to Asia to everywhere in between.

By Adelle Nazarian

When the leader of the free world singles out one particular country
for notably warm and detailed praise twice within the same week, it is
no coincidence. Rather, it is a strategically significant development
which deserves attention from policymakers and other observers in the
international community.

As America’s ties with global superpowers
experience an inordinate amount of tension, US President Donald Trump
lent telling insights into Washington’s plan for proactively
strengthening its strategic and economic alliances elsewhere through his
two recent letters to Ilham Aliyev, President of the Eurasian nation of Azerbaijan.

The letters
– sent during the same week in late May – come against the backdrop of
evolving and often-tumultuous times for American foreign policy.

Amid
the continued aftermath of disagreements over Syria and Ukraine as well
as the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,
President Vladimir Putin recently said US-Russia relations are “getting worse and worse,” while Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that those ties are at their most dangerous point in years.

Moving eastward, despite the truce which the US and China had reached at the G20 summit last weekend, Chinese imports as a share of total imports to America were down by more than 2 percentage points in the first four months of 2019 amid Trump’s trade war with Beijing.

Restoring order to US ties with China and Russia – the world’s 2nd- and 12th-largest economies by projected GDP, respectively –
should certainly be a top priority for the Trump administration. Yet,
as the state of relations with Moscow and Beijing continues to
fluctuate, the White House appears to have identified at least one
important component of its plan to broaden America’s global alliances.

“Azerbaijan is more prosperous and connected to the global economy than at any time in its history,” Trump wrote to Azerbaijan’s Aliyev for the 26th anniversary of the Caspian Oil and Gas Show.
“Oil and gas production from Azerbaijan continues to increase stability
in world energy markets, including through the Southern Gas Corridor.
Azerbaijan can play an even greater leadership role by partnering with
other potential suppliers, such as Turkmenistan and countries in the
Eastern Mediterranean. Now is the time to expand on your country’s
success.”

He added, “The United States supports your efforts to
advance economic reforms that will attract foreign investment and spur
innovation. The economic success of Azerbaijan will help bring stability
to the entire region.”

In his other late-May letter to Aliyev,
on the occasion of Azerbaijan’s Republic Day, Trump reemphasised his
appreciation for “Azerbaijan’s contributions to international security
and your leadership in enhancing European energy security through the
pioneering Southern Gas Corridor.” He also lauded the “strong
[US-Azerbaijan] partnership built on the foundation of a number of
shared interests” and acknowledged Aliyev’s “personal engagement in the
OSCE Minsk Group process to find a peaceful and lasting settlement of
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” referring to the territorial conflict
between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Trump’s repeated affirmation of
American support for the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) illustrates his
administration’s nuanced understanding of Azerbaijan’s status as “the
cornerstone of the North-South and East-West transport corridors” as
well as a unique “bridge between the Asian and European continents,” as Aliyev has described his country. In other words, Azerbaijan is precisely the piece you want to own in a real-life version of the strategy board game Risk.

Inaugurated
about a year ago, the Azerbaijan-led SGC project bypasses Russia and
therefore promises to substantially decrease Western dependence on
Russian gas. This $41.5 billion initiative will span nearly 2,200 miles
across seven countries and will involve over a dozen major energy
companies. Its three linked pipelines will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s
Shah Deniz 2 field, positioning Baku as the leading player in redrawing
Europe’s energy map.

According to US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Frank Fannon, Moscow is “fearful”
that the US will disrupt Russia’s energy monopoly in Europe not only by
vying to export American gas to that continent, but also through
Washington’s backing of the SGC.

At the same time, the strategic
importance of the SGC – and energy ties with Azerbaijan more broadly– is
arguably greater than ever for the US amid experts’ forecasts of instability in oil prices resulting from the escalating American tensions with Iran. Moreover, Azerbaijan is the only country which shares borders with both Iran and Russia.

Trump’s
recent letters are unmistakable signs of his administration’s growing
embrace of Azerbaijan as a centerpiece of its strategy from Europe to
Asia to everywhere in between. A deeper relationship with Azerbaijan is
hardly the only piece of America’s strategic puzzle during this time of
shifting geopolitical dynamics. But in Baku, Washington certainly
possesses a crucial building block.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)

The Global Security News


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The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): Eurasia Review: The World Needs A Water Treaty – Analysis

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By Conn Hallinan*

During the face-off earlier this year
between India and Pakistan over a terrorist attack that killed more
than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, New Delhi made an existential threat
to Islamabad. The weapon was not India’s considerable nuclear arsenal,
but one still capable of inflicting ruinous destruction: water.

“Our government has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan,” said Indian Transport Minister Nitin Gadkarikin
on February 21. “We will divert water from eastern rivers and supply it
to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.” India controls three
major rivers that flow into Pakistan.

If India had followed through, it
would have abrogated the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between the two
counties, a move that could be considered an act of war.

In the end, nothing much came of it.
India bombed some forests, and Pakistan bombed some fields. But the
threat underlined a growing crisis in South Asia, where water-stressed
mega-cities and intensive agriculture are quite literally drying the
subcontinent up. By 2030, according to a recent report, half the population of India — 700 million people — will lack adequate drinking water. Currently, 25 percent of India’s population is suffering from drought.

“If the wars of this century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water,” warns Ismail Serageldin, a former executive for the World Bank.

Bilateral Strains

While relations between India and
Pakistan have long been tense — they have fought three wars since 1947,
one of which came distressingly close to going nuclear — in terms of
water sharing, they are somewhat of a model.

After almost a decade of negotiations,
both countries signed the IWT in 1960 to share the output of six major
rivers. The World Bank played a key role by providing $1 billion for the
Indus Basin Development Fund.

But the ongoing tensions over Kashmir
have transformed water into a national security issue for both
countries. This, in turn, has limited the exchange of water and weather
data, making long-term planning extremely difficult.  

The growing water crisis is heightened by climate change. Both countries have experienced record-breaking heat waves, and the mountains that supply the vast majority of water for Pakistan and India are losing their glaciers.
The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment report estimates that by 2100, some
two-thirds of the area’s more than 14,000 glaciers will be gone.

India’s response to declining water
supplies, like that of many other countries in the region, is to build
dams. But dams not only restrict downstream water supplies, they block
the natural flow of silt. That silt renews valuable agricultural land
and also replenishes the great deltas, like the Ganges-Brahmaputra, the
Indus, and the Mekong. The deltas not only support fishing industries,
they also act as natural barriers to storms. 

The Sunderbans
— a vast, 4,000 square-mile mangrove forest on the coasts of India and
Bangladesh — is under siege. As climate change raises sea levels,
upstream dams reduce the flow of freshwater that keeps the salty sea at
bay. The salt encroachment eventually kills the mangrove trees and
destroys farmland. Add to this increased logging to keep pace with
population growth, and Bangladesh alone will lose some 800 square miles
of Sunderban over the next few years. 

As the mangroves are cut down or die
off, they expose cities like Kolkata and Dhaka to the unvarnished power
of typhoons, storms which climate change is making more powerful and
frequent.

The Third Pole

The central actor in the South Asia
water crisis is China, which sits on the sources of 10 major rivers that
flow through 11 countries, and which supply 1.6 billion people with
water. In essence, China controls the “Third Pole,” that huge reservoir
of fresh water locked up in the snow and ice of the Himalayas. 

And Beijing is building lots of dams to collect water and generate power. 

Over 600 large dams
either exist or are planned in the Himalayas. In the past decade, China
has built three dams on the huge Brahmaputra that has its origin in
China but drains into India and Bangladesh.

While India and China together
represent a third of the world’s population, both countries have access
to only 10 percent of the globe’s water resources — and no agreements on
how to share that water. While tensions between Indian and Pakistan
mean the Indus Water Treaty doesn’t function as well as it could,
nevertheless the agreement does set some commonly accepted ground rules,
including binding arbitration. No such treaty exists between New Delhi
and Beijing.

While relations between China and
India are far better than those between India and Pakistan, under the
Modi government New Delhi has grown closer to Washington and has partly
bought into a U.S. containment strategy aimed at China. Indian naval
ships carry out joint war games with China’s two major regional rivals,
Japan and the United States, and there are still disputes between China
and India over their mutual border. A sharpening atmosphere of
nationalism in both countries is not conducive to cooperation over
anything, let alone something as critical as water.

And yet never has there been such a
necessity for cooperation. Both countries need the “Third Pole’s” water
for agriculture, hydropower, and to feed the growth of mega-cities like
Delhi, Mumbai, and Beijing. 

Stressed water supplies translate
into a lack of clean water, which fuels a health crisis, especially in
the sprawling cities that increasingly draw rural people driven out by
climate change. Polluted water kills more people
than wars, including 1.5 million children under the age of five. 
Reduced water supplies also go hand in hand with waterborne diseases
like cholera. There is even a study that demonstrates thirsty mosquitoes bite more, thus increasing the number of vector borne diseases like zika, malaria, and dengue.

Regional Pacts Won’t Cut It

South Asia is hardly alone in facing a
crisis over fresh water. Virtually every continent on the globe is
looking at shortages. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2030
water sources will only cover 60 percent of the world’s daily
requirement.

The water crisis is no longer a
problem that can be solved through bilateral agreements like the IWT,
but one that requires regional, indeed, global solutions. If the recent
push by the Trump administration to lower mileage standards
for automobiles is successful, it will add hundreds of thousands of
extra tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which, in turn, will
accelerate climate change. 

In short, what comes out of U.S. auto
tailpipes will ultimately be felt by the huge Angsi Glacier in Tibet,
the well spring of the Brahmaputra, a river that flows through China,
India, and Bangladesh, emptying eventually into the Bay of Bengal.

There is no such thing as a local or
regional solution to the water crisis, since the problem is global. The
only really global organization that exists is the United Nations, which
will need to take the initiative to create a worldwide water
agreement. 

Such an agreement is partly in place. The UN International Watercourses Convention
came into effect in August 2014 following Vietnam’s endorsement of the
treaty. However, China voted against it, and India and Pakistan
abstained. Only parties that signed it are bound by its conventions.

But the convention is a good place to
start. “It offers legitimate and effective practices for data sharing,
negotiation, and dispute resolution that could be followed in a
bilateral or multilateral water sharing arrangement,” according to Srinivas Chokkakula, a water issues researcher at New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research.

By 2025, according to the UN, some
1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute
water shortages, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be under
“water stress” conditions. There is enough fresh water for seven
billion people, according to the UN, but it is unevenly distributed,
polluted, wasted, or poorly managed.

If countries don’t come together around the conventions — which need to be greatly strengthened — and it becomes a free for all with a few countries holding most of the cards, sooner or later the “water crisis” will turn into an old-fashioned war.

*Foreign Policy In Focus columnist Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com and middlempireseries.wordpress.com

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)

The Global Security News


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The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): Eurasia Review: Osaka G20 Summit: Mixed Outcome – Analysis

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The G20 Summit at Osaka came up with a mixed picture on trade. The US and China struck a trade truce. But the summit failed to address issues related to WTO reforms.

By Pradumna Bickram Rana and Jason Ji Xianbai*

ON 28-29
JUNE 2019, the Group of Twenty (G20) leaders representing two-thirds of
the world population and 85 percent of the global output assembled in
Osaka, Japan for their 2019 summit.

At the gathering of leaders, a wide range of topics including data
governance, quality infrastructure, financial resilience, international
taxation, gender equality and climate change were covered. But it was
trade that preoccupied the leaders. At the conclusion of the two-day
meeting, a mixed picture of relief and disappointment on trade issues
emerged.

Relief: US-China Trade Truce

The Osaka Summit was held against the background of aggressive trade
confrontations between the United States (US) and China which have
roiled the global economy. According to the International Monetary Fund,
global growth is expected to slow to 3.3 percent this year from 3.6
percent in 2018 and globally the economic losses from the US-China trade
war could amount to US$455 billion in 2020.

Much to the relief of the world, the US and China signalled a pause
in mutual hostilities at Osaka. The US promised to withhold tariffs on
an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods and ease some, yet
unspecified, restrictions on China’s hard-pressed telecommunications
giant Huawei.

China in return agreed to purchase a “tremendous amount of US farm
goods”. Concessions on both sides have led to some relief. Top US and
Chinese officials have spoken by telephone but face-to-face negotiations
have yet to be scheduled.

There is, however, a sense of déjà vu among some. Presidents Donald
Trump and Xi Jinping had struck a similar ceasefire agreement during the
Buenos Aires G20 Summit of December 2018 that unravelled soon after.
Whether the “Osaka truce” between the two superpowers will last is an
open question given the structural nature of the competition between the
US’ liberal market economic model and China’s coordinated state
capitalism model that underlie the conflicts.

Perhaps the US and China are just kicking the can down the road yet
again at Osaka. The détente could even be part of China’s filibustering
strategy to sit Trump out.

Reason for Optimism

That said, there is a good reason to be more optimistic this time
around because of the urgency on both sides to address the adverse
impacts of the trade war. Farmers, manufacturers and other businesses
with exposure to China have been badly hurt in the US. In June, the
manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index dived to 50.1, the worst level
in a decade.

Private investment on capital goods also continue to decline as
corporate leaders brace themselves for the uncertainties ahead. With
Trump seeking a re-election, resolving the multibillion-dollar dispute
with China once and for all and turning the economic situation around
could be a winning strategy.

On the Chinese side too, the economy is clearly deteriorating. In
2018, China registered the lowest economic growth in almost thirty
years. Trade sanctions imposed by the US continue to weigh on China’s
economy. Should the trade war drag, Beijing will almost certainly miss
its target economic growth rate of 6.0 to 6.5 percent for this year.

Disappointment: WTO Reforms

At the Buenos Aires G20 Summit seven months ago, the leaders had
committed “to improve a rules-based international order” and pledged to
support the “necessary reform” of the WTO. This for the first time
elevated the subject of WTO reforms as an agenda item for the G20.

After the summit, countries were encouraged to put forward proposals
on how to make the global trade governing body fit for the purpose in
today’s economic and political landscape. A number of proposals were
forwarded to Geneva in the months leading up to the Osaka summit.

The US wanted to disqualify G20 members such as China from enjoying
the lenient “special and differential treatment” at the WTO. China had
proposed to save the adjudicative system now bordering on collapse. The
EU and Canada had lobbied to write new global rules to enhance trade
policy transparency and curb trade-distorting measures such as excessive
subsidies.

As priorities differed significantly across major powers, the leaders
ended up talking past each other at Osaka. Consequently, the G20
leaders’ declaration while admitting that the WTO needed reform fell
short of mentioning any specific steps to be taken to improve the
functioning and governance of the WTO.

More worryingly, leaders appeared to have toned down the seriousness
of the issue. An earlier draft of the statement had called for a “sense
of urgency” to reform the WTO which was “facing unprecedented
challenges”, but this strong language was missing in the final version.
This suggests that Japan did not want to repeat the experience of Papua
New Guinea which hosted the APEC Summit last year failing to mediate the
leaders’ declaration in the context of US-China tensions.

Key Issues in WTO Reforms

Of
particular concern is the Trump administration’s veto on the appointment
of new judges and its unwillingness to extend the terms of existing
judges at the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism known as the appellate
body. This body now has the minimum three judges needed to function. If
the situation is not resolved by December, the enforcement mechanism and
the “crown jewel” of the rules-based global trading system will cease
to function.

The WTO’s decision-making protocol based on full consensus of the
membership (164 members) has meant that decisions are often taken at a
glacial pace. To reverse this situation, in Osaka, Japan had proposed a
“plurilateral agreement” among 50 WTO members on cross-border data
movement and e-commerce.

Although 24 countries, including the US, China, the European Union
and Singapore signed up to Tokyo’s plan, large emerging economies like
India, Indonesia, South Africa and Egypt opposed it on the grounds of
multilateralism-centrality and the grouping’s lack of legitimacy and
universal representation on matters related to trade.

The Osaka Summit, together with the preceding Buenos Aires Summit,
had been dominated by bilateral issues related to the trade war between
the US and China. It is critically urgent that the forthcoming summits
including the Riyadh summit next year focus on key issues in reforming
the WTO including its governance system. Otherwise the effectiveness and
clout of the most rules-based multilateral institution in the world
will diminish greatly.

*Pradumna B. Rana is a Visiting Associate Professor at the Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Xianbai Ji is a Research Fellow at RSIS.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)

The Global Security News


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The Global Security News: Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (99 sites): realDonaldTrump on Twitter: Interesting! twitter.com/lindseygrahams…

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Ambassador @KimDarroch always understood the strength of President Trump and referred to him as the “Terminator” who is indestructible and will most likely be reelected. pic.twitter.com/ddUGvNGneG



Posted by

LindseyGrahamSC
on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019 2:31pm

1454 likes, 375 retweets


Posted by

realDonaldTrump
on Friday, July 12th, 2019 3:40am

4739 likes, 1090 retweets

realDonaldTrump on Twitter

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (99 sites)

The Global Security News


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1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): BrooklynVegan: Lil Wayne says he “might be” quitting co-headlining tour with blink-182

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”I’m not sure how long I’m going to be able to do this tour,” Lil Wayne said at the tour’s Thursday night stop in Bristow, VA, ”but make some noise for blink-182 for including me anyway.”
Continue reading…

BrooklynVegan

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)


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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: “fbi” – Google News: FBI Offers $5,000 Reward For Semi-Automatic Rifle Stolen From Agent’s Car In Oakland – CBS San Francisco

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Feedly Logo
July 11, 2019
“fbi” – Google News: FBI Offers $5,000 Reward For Semi-Automatic Rifle Stolen From Agent’s Car In Oakland – CBS San Francisco
Tribes gain direct access to FBI sex offender registry – Washington Post
FBI, police release photo of suspected downtown Pittsburgh bank robber – WPXI Pittsburgh
Los Lunas police lieutenant succeeds at FBI National Police Academy – Valencia County News Bulletin

“fbi” – Google News: FBI Offers $5,000 Reward For Semi-Automatic Rifle Stolen From Agent’s Car In Oakland – CBS San Francisco

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The FBI’s San Francisco Division on Thursday offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of several items including a semi-automatic rifle, a magazine and jacket with official FBI markings stolen from an agent’s car.
Read More

Tribes gain direct access to FBI sex offender registry – Washington Post

Washington Post
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dozens of tribes now have direct access to the FBI’s National Sex Offender Registry as tribal authorities try to combat high rates of sexual violence, federal officials said Thursday.
Read More

FBI, police release photo of suspected downtown Pittsburgh bank robber – WPXI Pittsburgh

WPXI Pittsburgh
0 FBI, police release photo of suspected downtown Pittsburgh bank robber PITTSBURGH – The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police are asking for help identifying the man who robbed a bank downtown.
Read More

Los Lunas police lieutenant succeeds at FBI National Police Academy – Valencia County News Bulletin

Valencia County News Bulletin
Her path was difficult and it was far from direct, but Los Lunas Police Lt. Lisa Valenzuela-Medina has spent the last few years achieving her life-long goals. Most recently, she completed the prestigious Federal Bureau of Investigation National Police Academy, making her the third officer from LLPD to complete the program and the department’s first woman to succeed in the academy.
Read More
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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites)


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1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Brooklyn NY” – Google News: Ole Miss to Face Penn State in NIT Tip-Off – WCBI

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Ole Miss to Face Penn State in NIT Tip-Off  WCBI

BROOKLYN, NY (Ole Miss Athletics) – Game times and opening matchups for the 2019 NIT Tip-Off were announced Thursday afternoon, and the Ole Miss …

“Brooklyn NY” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)


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